Some Coon owners may already know everything there is to know. But for those of you who are keen to own a Coon Cat, knowing just a little more about these incredible animals may finally urge you to visit your nearest shelter to adopt. Either way, read on to discover five facts about the Maine Coon breed.
It may be the largest breed of domestic cat, but the Maine Coon’s temperament is on a par with your average tabby. It’s no more aggressive, and its size warrants only a small amount of special attention. Believe us when we say: knowing all you can about the Maine Coon will make you a better owner.
What is a Maine Coon?
The Maine Coon is not only larger than other domestic cats it has a distinctive appearance. It is covered in two thick coats of fur: long hairs above a silky coat undercoat. The coon’s chest is covered in a prominent ruff, its tail is long and bushy and the tops of its ears normally sport tufts of hair. According to the American Cat Fanciers' Association the cat is seen in over 75 colour variations.
The feet of the Maine Coon are larger than other breeds of cat. Big feet help the cat to traverse snow and ice with ease; tufts of hair help to distribute its weight.
Where did the Maine Coon come from?
Quite where the Maine Coon came from is unknown. It carries the name of the State in New England, US because it was here that the arrival of the Coon Cat was first documented. Since 1985 it has also been the official state cat of Maine. But how it got there is another matter. It may now be considered native to the United States, but its evolution can be traced back to Turkey.
One possible way in which it was brought to the states is cited by Maine Coon Rescue. The website recounts the story of the Queen of France Marie Antoinette, who in 1793, fearing arrest by the Revolutionary Tribunal, attempted to flee France.
Queen Marie brought with her on the voyage six Turkish Angora cats. Unfortunately she was arrested before she could leave the country, but her cats sailed onwards to the New World. There they are thought to have mated with native short-haired cats to produce the ancestor of the breed we know today.
Is the Maine Coon cat actually related to a raccoon?
No. But the question of where the name “coon” came from is hotly debated. The current theory is that in the early 1800s a British sailor called Charles Coon brought with him on an expedition to New England a group of Angora cats in order to keep rats at bay. The cats were thought to have been called Coon’s cats.
How big can a Maine Coon get?
To be called the largest domestic cat breed is no overstatement. On average male coon cats can weigh 13 to 18 lbs and females can weigh 8 to 12 lbs. Adult Maine Coon’s are usually between 10 and 16 inches in height and between 40 and 48 inches in length.
In 2013 the world’s longest cat died aged eight. “Stewie” was a purebred Maine Coon that measured 48.5 inches in length. The current holder of the world record for the longest cat is Maine Coon “Barivel”. In 2018 he entered the Guinness Book of World Records at 3 feet, 11.2 inches.
Five facts about the Maine Coon
1. Maine Coon meowing
The mew of a Maine Coon is unlike any other cat. The noise they make is a mixture of a meow and purr, and more sing-along than that of the normal domestic tabby. They are not particularly talkative, mewing perhaps three or four times in response to an event and then stopping.
2. Maine Coon character
Maine Coons are young at heart. They possess a kittenish disposition for much of their life. In terms of their size and physical strength, the breed is not thought to be adult until it is about three years old. The Maine Coon has a reputation for being the “dog of the cat world”. It enjoys games and walking with its owner far more than do other domestic cats.
3. Maine Coon fur
The Maine Coon may have originated in the Middle East but its physique and coat are well-adapted for Western winters. By generations of interbreeding with American cats born to survive the cold New England winters, the Coon Cat is equipped with a thick and silky coat and large, padded feet.
4. Maine Coons and water
Unlike the domestic cat the Maine Coon does not mind being splashed with water. In fact, it is supposed to be an efficient swimmer. Furthermore, the breed tends to have an odd fascination with water: it may spend an undue length of time playing with its water bowl or some other source of water.
5. Maine Coon origins
It is generally accepted that the Maine Coon is related to the Turkish Angora cat. The Angora is a domestic cat with ancient ancestral origins; it, in turn, descended from the African wildcat. It is thought Angoras brought over to the United States from Europe were mated with larger breeds leading to the arrival of the Maine Coon.
As an owner, what special measures must I put in place?
There are no special measures to put in place before you adopt a Maine Coon. However, its bedding, toilet tray and carry crate need to be bigger.
Generally speaking, the Maine Coon, like other domestic cats, desires only a place of their own in the house. To know where they must go for toilet duties and where they must go to sleep makes any cat comfortable and less anxious. In fact, Maine Coons will desire no more space of their own than a domestic cat.
The only special attention required of a Maine Coon should be to its grooming. A Maine Coon’s fur is thick, silky, double-layered and plentiful. Regular attention to this animal’s beautiful coat will not only make it look majestic but it will also save you a lot of clearing up around the house.
The Coon is considered the gentlest of domestic pets. They are affectionate, fun-loving and eager to please. They are excellent companions to single people and large families; dogs and small children do not appear to bother them.
However, it is essential that the Maine Coon is not seen as hardier than most because of its size. Maine Coons are susceptible to the same diseases and conditions that affect other cats and dogs, including hip dysplasia and muscle atrophy. More importantly, like any other domesticated animal, the Maine Coon needs to know it is loved.
This is an intelligent breed of cat and it will become easily bored should no-one be bothered to play with it.